In preparation for doing this roundup, I’ve just reviewed my writing achievements for 2014, by way of seeing how I went in 2015 by comparison. It’s brought home to me the truism that you should never compare your writing achievements to anyone else’s – not even your past self’s, apparently.
I made a deliberate decision to focus on a novel projects in 2015, and to try not to be distracted by short stories. I still wrote a couple, bad girl, but made no sales. Two of the stories I sold in 2014 came out in 2015, so it wasn’t a complete wasteland of ignominy. Also, one of my short stories from 2014 was listed on Ellen Datlow’s recommended reading longlist, which is a definite win.
I achieved a fair bit under the heading of “novel projects”. Novels are, of course, more complex beasts than short stories, and my achievements here feel more intangible, but I’m counting them anyway.
I got additional feedback on Novel Project #1, rewrote a chunk of it, got it into submittable form, wrote a synopsis (a proper one) and developed the basis of a pitch and a query letter.
(Most writers I know complain a lot about having to do write synopses and query letters and I am happy to add my own mewling whine to the cacophony. It was horrible. It was hard. It was not about crafting beautiful imagery or sculpting layered, authentic characters or building immersive worlds or choreographing breathtaking action. But it also kind of was, in the most abbreviated, chop-all-its-limbs-off and pull-out-its-beating-heart way possible. In the end, it was, I confess, deeply satisfying. Like the way I imagine it would feel after having run some kind of endurance race. Painful process, fist pump outcome.)
I submitted NP#1 to several agents, got one request for a full MS, many rejections, and one chunk of invaluable feedback. So I’m calling it a win.
I have now submitted it to a couple of publishers, and so we wait…
I did a huge amount of planning and research for Novel Project #4, and also a big chunk of writing. It’s now sitting on just under 60,000 words. I wish it were further along, but the win I’m counting here is in the planning process. I’ve never properly planned a novel before, so this was a first. I’m pretty happy with my novel plan and I feel like I really know where I’m going for with this story (and its sequels). So: yay.
So… in contemplation of the year ahead, what are my plans and goals? Hmm. Finishing the first draft of NP#4 is high on the list, along with getting it beta-read, and beginning the process of getting it into the kind of condition worthy of a publisher/agent’s attention. I definitely want to reacquaint myself with the art of writing short stories and make another couple of sales. I want to do some overseas travel, which might not sound like writing, but it’s definitely research. I’d also like to focus a little bit on developing my craft and perhaps take some time (and spend some money) on doing some courses/workshops.
Here’s to chasing dreams and wrestling them into reality. I wish you all a happy, safe and prosperous 2016.